Samuel Hengel is, or should I say was, a mentally disturbed, probably depressed student in a rural area of Wisconsin who showed up at school yesterday with a pistol. He used the firearm to hold the teacher and students in one of his classes for several hours. (details here)
Scary part (well, there’s several scary parts): He actually fired the weapon a few times and kept everyone in the room for something like an hour or an hour and a half before school authorities were aware that there was a problem.
Anyway, he fired his weapon a number of times, shooting various objects, and finally on one of those occasions police stormed the room and Hengel shot himself. The word has just come down that he died in hospital of the self inflicted wound.
So yes, Samuel Hengel wins this week’s Poster Boy for Gun Control Award. But what we really, really need to know is this: Where did he get the damn guns (there were two pistols)? A related question: Why is it not routine for reporters to insist on knowing, and thus reporting, this fact in cases of rampage, school shooting, or other violent acts involving a firearm? Sometimes we find out, sometimes we don’t. In this case, no one is saying anything about it,and that’s fairly typical. The current story mentions “where” the weapons may have come from only in the context of how he got them from a hiding place outside the classroom, into the classroom. The real question is this: What is the name of the adult who owned the two pistols Hengel used?
Gun control. I used to be against it. Then I was indifferent. Now I’m realizing that we need it big time, because people are too stupid to be trusted to behave intelligently (is that a tautology? sorry..) without strict regulation from society, when it comes down to it.
Prove me wrong.
PS: This is a great example of how arming principals and teachers and janitors and stuff would have little effect. They didn’t even know it was happening. If the teacher in the room was known or suspected to be armed, he may have shot her dead first, instead of merely blowing away the projector.